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New Histories of Women’s Lives

Methodology, Theory, and Practice

Add to calendar 2023-03-10 10:00 2023-03-10 17:00 Europe/Rome New Histories of Women’s Lives Sala degli Stemmi Villa Salviati - Castle YYYY-MM-DD


10 March 2023

10:00 - 17:00 CET


Sala degli Stemmi

Villa Salviati - Castle

Organised by

Organised by the EUI Queer and Feminist Working Group with collaboration from the Scuola Normale Superiore as well as the Central European University.

This workshop gathers early-career scholars working broadly on the topic of women's lives. 

Panel 1 – ‘Non-Conforming Selves and Otherness: Early Modern and Modern Approaches to Women’s Lives’  

Panel 2 – ‘Contemporary Encounters: Sources, Methods, Practices’ 

Keynote – ‘The Three Global Foremothers of the Communist Women’s Movement: Biographies, Impact, and Connections’, Emeritus Prof. of Gender Studies and History Francisca de Haan (CEU) 

See below for full programme. 

Since the 1980s, women historians have published a copious body of literature discussing women and their relationship to the past, present, and future. Women’s history, it has been written, is based on a constant questioning - of the understanding of the position of women, of the traditional canon and historiography, and of social norms and constructions. Marilyn J. Boxer argued along these lines, stating that: when women ask questions, everything looks different, including the past , and we could add - especially the past. To this we add another question: Who are those we ask questions about? What do we know about their lives? How do we examine their histories? The answer lies in the sources: biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, testimonies, letters, diaries.  

While marginalised by male-dominated fields of history, ego documents have been celebrated by historians of social history, women’s history, labour history, Black history, and others, as a tool to recover the lost lives of those hidden in the traditional sources. This body of sources allowed historians to shift their lens from macro to micro perspective, examining individual actors and their influence on social, cultural, economic, and political relations. Moreover, the value of these sources lies not in the factual information, but in the possibility, they open to investigate how actors understood their lives and surroundings, what they felt, and how they negotiated their position in a given society.  

Our workshop gathers early-career scholars working broadly on the topic of women’s lives. Some of the central questions we seek to discuss are the following: What are the methodological problems and challenges in the search for women's experiences in existing historiography? How does the use of biography/life writing/ego documents by historians transform the genre itself?  

Please register in order to attend in person or to receive the ZOOM link. 

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